The global market has taken a serious hit due to the widespread impact of the coronavirus. The economies of multiple countries have seen major decline and the unemployment rate have further increased. For instance, according to report published by The World Bank Group on impact of COVID-19, the global GDP was below 2 percent of the global benchmark. Moreover, the GDP of developing countries was 2.5 percent below the benchmark and the GDP of industrial countries was 1.8 percent below the benchmark. Moreover, the impact is only limited to country level impact but has disrupted the overall management and business of various industries.
This drastic change due to COVID-19 has also been reflected in the sectors as gluten-free cereal which is still at a nascent stage. In the recent years, the market has seen a special inclination and growth for the gluten-free product such as gluten-free cereal due to the awareness for harmful effects of gluten and diseases as celiac. The COVID-19 has brought in new opportunities for this market due to the nature of the virus, the global community prioritised health over other things and has been shifting towards healthy food products as gluten-free cereal.
As though celiac disease which is been triggered in patients when gluten product is eaten have no direct impact on the risk of COVID-19. But celiac disease can often cause type I diabetes and thyroid in it patients due to which the patient become prone to the risk of the coronavirus. Thus, the overall increase in this disease will impact the risk towards coronavirus.
FIGURE 1. GLOBAL PREVALENCE OF CELIAC DISEASE BASED ON SEROLOGIC TESTS
Such instances have made consumers more aware about what they eat as intake of gluten among the celiac patients can result in severe symptoms such as bloating, wind, fatigue, low blood count, diarrhoea and others and in some cases can cause type I diabetes or thyroid. Thus, consumers have been more conscious regarding the consumption of gluten and have preferred gluten-free products as gluten-free cereal to avoid such symptoms and diseases.
Thus, to avoid these diseases, there is increase in launches of gluten-free products that can be seen as manufacturers are trying to fulfil the demands of consumers.
The COVID-19 crisis has majorly affected the food market and food supply chain globally. Due to COVID-19 outbreak, the whole supply chain of gluten-free cereal from production to manufacturing to distribution is affected all across the world due to restrictions in the trading process, unavailability of raw material, loss of labour or limited work force due to movement restriction and limited trading activities which is causing problem in import and export. Additionally, strict government regulations for food industry have affected gluten-free cereal market diversely. COVID-19 has adversely affected the entire supply chain of the gluten-free cereal market. The increasing awareness among the consumers about lacking the adequate amount of dietary fibre and being highly refined products is also restricting the growth of the gluten-free cereal market.
Despite these challenges raised by COVID-19, gluten-free cereal manufacturers in the global market have sorted to online distribution channels such as Tesco, Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, Indiamart among others for movement of their products to their customers. Moreover, many companies have also fashioned their individual e-commerce platforms benefitting their supply chain and meeting the demands of the customers. Furthermore, many manufacturers have also taken the opportunity to launch new products in the market.
“The General Mills Foundation has expanded its COVID-19 charitable response to USD 14.00 million since March 2020 due to growing hunger rates which includes an additional USD 4.00 million of supplemental philanthropic funding for non-profit organizations working to alleviate growing food insecurity.”
“The grants and food donations from General Mills help food banks, food pantries and other anti-hunger organizations meet the elevated community needs driven by the pandemic.”
“The company’s latest COVID-19 response augments more than USD 50.00 million in cash giving by General Mills and its foundation in fiscal 2020 along with more than USD 40.00 million worth of food product donations provided by General Mills to non-profit food banks to help reduce hunger and ensure food security for people and pets across global communities.”
_ General Mills
COVID-19 pandemic has affected the population and economy on the global level. During the pandemic, public awareness regarding the gluten-free products and celiac disease has become the major concern globally. Majority of the population became aware of the gluten intolerance disease and also increase in population of health conscious population will ultimately lead to rise in the gluten-free cereal market. Many food manufacturers are urging government about the awareness of gluten-free products and food and also importance of gluten-free cereals in gluten intolerant and celiac disease population and simultaneously trying to fulfil the demands of consumers by launching new gluten-free cereal and cereal products with different flavours. Thus, the gluten-free cereal market will be increasing after the COVID-19 outbreak and will grow for the long period due to awareness of gluten-free food products and its benefits among consumers globally.